Henry’s birthday was gentle, and it had nearly everything I needed, barring him.
As we ate our chocolate cake with our neighbors, a cardinal swooped by as if on cue when Julie asked, “Where’s the cardinal? Don’t we usually see a cardinal?”
The kids pretended their chocolate cake and whipped cream was bird poop. Spirit of eight-year-old boy?
And then I had my garden time. I weeded and edged. I thinned and transplanted. I mulched and replaced the heart shaped stones. I sweated and my mind wandered.
This haphazard garden is one place I have never planned. I simply fit things into the space I have. Sometimes tall things end up in the front or plants are too close, and when they are, I move them. This garden that I began in 2008 with a couple of hand-me-down perennials has expanded and filled in and flourished.
I went from peaceful contemplation in the garden to lively chaos at science fair that night. And somehow that was right too.
The next day I woke up feeling lighter. My hips, aching for days, felt looser. It is not that I don’t think of him now that his birthday is past, but the pressure, the anticipation of that day and all the hope it held has passed once again.
Friday I took the day off from work. I stayed off Facebook and didn’t open my email. Saturday i absorbed all the kind words and messages that people sent my way on Friday: thinking of you, remembering with you, holding space for your story.
Today I stood in my Gore-tex waving to my big girl on the bus. Today I told my little one about camping in the rain as I drove her to school. Today I checked my email, focused on work, went to the dentist. Today a gentle rain fell, soaking into the too dry earth, enlivening all the green, kissing the swelling peony buds. Today I stood in that rain and smiled.
High-pitched gull calls came out of no where, lost in the salty fog. I stood in the grayness, the sea and sky blending so there was no horizon.
I love the ocean on a clear day, stretching far as my eye can see, but I’m not really here for the view. I stand on the beach, now all rounded stones. Flies swarm around piles of seaweed, buzz up around my face for a minute, and then I’m away from them.
The waves roar-crash followed by the clatter rumble of rocks shifting, then the hiss and quiet of the foam sliding back along the stones again. I close my eyes to listen and soak in the rhythm of the waves, the rolling push pull push pull. Roar-crash, rumble, hiss. Roar-crash, rumble, hiss. I breathe in deeply. Breathe out.
I come in the summer for the beach—long days of sun and sand and salty breezes, but it’s not just about the beach. I miss the salt air and the afternoon breezes. I miss the changing colors and moods of the water. I miss the ocean’s energy. I grew up with this energy, flowing around me, running through my veins. I don’t live with ocean everyday any more, and I need a dose of it sometimes to refuel, re-balance, reset.
What’s your reset?
I need to move slow today. I wanted to run, but my body said, walk.
And I listened.
I’m not always good at that. Even today. It told me to lie down, take a nap, but I pushed on, sitting in front of my screen try to get the words out. Not so productive.
I’m good at to do lists and getting things done. I’m good at what I have to do, but not always at what I need.
Eight years ago at this time, I was listening. During my first pregnancy, I really listened to my body. I rested when I was tired. I walked when that felt good, went to yoga, ate lots of protein because that’s what I craved. I cut back on sweets only because for the first time in my life chocolate had not appeal. I’d like to be able to listen—and respond—like that again.
Sometimes those to do lists get in the way or the should do things. Sometimes I think I’m too busy (and slowly remember how not to be). Some days I manage to listen.
I need to be outside. I need to smell the earth and see the bits of green—garlic, spinach, lettuce—poking their heads up to the sunshine. I need to move—walk, work—and then be still.
What do you need today?
Share what you need in comments—and take care of yourself.
Make time and space for what you love and what you need. We’ll use writing as a tool to notice, nourish, and nurture.
Registration for Grow ends Saturday.
Please join me!